Turkish Infinitive, Turkish Infinitive -mek, -mak

Turkish Infinitive, Turkish Infinitive -mek, -mak

Turkish Infinitive, Turkish Infinitive -mek, -mak


The infinitive is a verbal noun. "to walk, walking"

It has no inflection to indicate mood or tense.

The suffix of the Turkish infinitive is -me(k) -ma(k)
[the final -k is often dropped when adding suffixes]

As a noun it can be suffixed with person and movement suffixes.

Positive Verb Root:
to come, the coming

Negative Verb Root:
to not look, the not looking.

Turkish Negative infinitive Formation

Verbs have a separate infinitive form:

  • Negative particle -me- -ma- is added to the positive verb stem →

  • gelmekto come 
    gelmemek[gelme-mek]to not come

  • almakto take →
    almamak[alma-mak]to not take.

  • This method of forming the negative is true for all Turkish verbs.

Abrasion on Turkish Infinitive -me -ma

  • Infinitives are abraded by dropping final -k →

  • gelmegoingbakmamanot looking

  • Personal pronouns and extended suffixes are be added as required:

  • gelmemiz[gelme-miz]our coming

  • gitmemeleri[git me me leri ]their not going

  • bakmasından[bakma-sı-ndan]from his looking.

  • Gülmemeniz imkansiz.[gül-me-me-niz]Your not laughing is impossible.

Turkısh Abraded Infinitive Examples

  • yapmakto do → yapma[yap-ma]the doing

  • yapmamaknot to do → yapmama[yapma-ma]the not doing

vermekto givevermethe giving
vermemethe not giving
ağrımakto acheağrımathe aching
ağrımamathe not aching
bilmekto knowbilmethe knowing
bilmeme not knowing
kopmakto snapkopma snapping
kopmamanot snapping
görmekto see görmeseeing
görmemenot seeing
kurumakto drykurumadrying
kurumamanot drying
gülmekto laughgülmelaughing
gülmeme not laughing

Turkish Infinitive as an Object of a Verb

The infinitive being a noun can take suffixes:

  • Geçen hafta ödevimi yapmayı unuttum.
    [yapma-yı = the doing]
    I forgot to do my homework last week.

  • Garajdan arabamı almayı unuttum.
    [alma-yı = the taking]
    I forgot to pick up (take) my car from the garage.

  • Ali, sana söylemeyi unuttu.
    [söyleme-yi = the telling]
    Ali forgot to tell you.

  • Affedersin, seni aramayı unuttuk.
    We're sorry, we forgot to call you.

  • Filmi izlemeyi unuttum.
    I forgot to watch the film.

  • Kediyi beslemeyi unuttum.
    I forgot to feed the cat.

  • Mehmet'i sormayı unuttunuz
    You forgot to ask Mehmet.

  • Kapıyı kapamayı unuttum.
    I forgot to close the door.

  • Pencereyi açmayı unuttular.
    They forgot to open the window.

  • Pencereyi açmamayı hatırladılar.
    [açma-MA-yı = the NOT opening]
    They remembered NOT to open the window.

Turkish Verbal Objects

Some turkish verbs take the Movement Towards suffix [-(y)e/-(y)a] as their object.

To say: she started to write / she started writing

The infinitive:
yazmakto write is the object of the verb she started…

The suffix shows its relationship to başlamak →
yazmaya başladı
she started to write / she started (to the) writing.

Special Case istemekto want

The verb istemek.to want is a special case:
It causes no modification of the verb it governs:

  • Yazmak istiyorum.
    I want to write.

  • İçmek istiyorlar.
    They want to drink.

  • Kalmak istemedin.
    You didn't want to stay.

  • Çalışmak istemeyecekler.
    They will not want to work.

This also applies in English:
"I want writing", "They want drinking" is incorrect.

The concept of "wanting…" does not affect the verb being governed in any way.

When istemek governs anything other that a verb then the objective case must be used.

In examples below istemek does not govern the verb kalmak
It DOES govern a person

Therefore the direct object pointer IS required.

  • Kalmamanızı istiyoruz.
    We want you not to stay.

  • Kalmanızı istemiyoruz.
    We do not want you to stay.

  • Kalmasını istemiyorlar.
    They don't want him to stay.

  • Kalmamalarını istemiyorum.
    I don't want them not to stay.

Verbal Nouns in English

To understand and comprehend verbal nouns must be recognised as such.

  • The writing is on the wall.

  • The drinking of this water is prohibited.

  • Smoking is allowed.

  • Leave your suitcase in the waiting room.

  • He is working in the drying shed.

Examples of Suffixed Turkish Infinitives

Suffixes follow Vowel Harmony and Consonant Mutation Rules.

Buffer letter -y- is used to keep vowel suffixes apart.

  • Kitabı okumaya çalıştı.
    He tried [to] to read the book.

  • Yüzmeyi severim.
    I like to swim.
    [I like the swimming]

  • Onu yapmaktayım.
    I am just doing it.
    [in/at doing it]

  • sigara içmeyi bıraktım.
    I have given up [the] smoking cıgaettes.

Extended Turkish Infinitive Forms

Turkish Infinitive with Basic Suffix
Positive Negative
gelmek to come gelmemek not to come
gelmeye to come gelmemeye to not to come
gelmeyi to come (obj.) gelmemeyi not to come
gelmekte in coming gelmemekte in not coming
gelmekten from coming gelmemekten from not coming
gelmekle by/with coming gelmemekle by not coming

  • Kesmeyi bıraktı.
    He stopped [the] cutting.

  • Sürmeyi öğreniyorum.
    I am learning [the driving] to drive.

  • Gülmemeye çalışıyorlar.
    They are trying not to [to] laugh.

Turkish Infinitive with Personal Pronoun Endings

The infnitive drops its final -k of -mek -mak in all persons.

Personalised Infinitive
Positive Negative
gitmek to go gitmemek not to go
gitmem my going gitmemem my not going
gitmen your going gitmemen your not going
gitmesi his / her / its going gitmemesi his / her / its not going
gitmemiz our going gitmememiz our not going
gitmeniz your going gitmemeniz your not going
gitmeleri their going gitmemeleri their not going

Turkish Heavy Infinitive:

The meaning of the heavy infinitive is the same as the standard infinitive.

It is used when there may be ambiguity in the context.

The heavy infinitive is little used.

The heavy infinitive can also have personal pronouns and or case endings added to it.

Positive Verbs:
-lık -lik ix suffixed to the standard infinitive.

The final -k of -mek is often dropped when adding the -lik suffix.

gelmekto come →
gelme(k)likthe coming

Negative Verbs:
are slightly different in that the -mek/-mak changes to -mez/-maz

bakmamaknot to look 
bakmazlıkthe not seeing

Personalised Heavy Infinitive
Positive Negative
gelme(k)lik to come gelmezlik not to come
gelme(k)liğim my coming gelmezliğimiz our not coming
gelme(k)likleri their coming gelmezliği his not coming

Turkish: How to say: To pretend (not) to…

The heavy infinitive is little used except for the following "special case":

The Negative Heavy Infinitive in the ablative case followed by the verb gelmek means to pretend (not) to…

This "pretend not to" form is in daily use.

  • It is a reduplicated negative ie:

  • bakmazlık → bakMAmazlıkto not NOT to see.

  • Bana bakmamazlıktan geldi.
    He pretended (not) to look at me.

  • Onu görmemezlikten geliyorsunuz.
    You are pretending (not) to see it.

  • Ayşe hanımı sevmemezlikten gelir misiniz?
    Are you pretending (not) to like Miss Ayşe?

This construction is a special locution.

It only used with gelmek as an auxiliary verb.

görmemezlikten gelmek
turn a blind eye 
→ look through
→ give someone the go by 
→ close one's eyes to
→ pretend not to see

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